How To Fix Peeling Faux Leather Jacket
I don’t know about you, but I enjoy wearing my faux leather jacket everywhere. It is very politically correct to wear faux leather because no animals are hurt in the making, but it also looks chic. However, I recently noticed that my favorite jacket had started to peel around the collar. I went online to try to find help, but couldn’t find much, so I thought I’d create a tutorial to help others like me. If your faux leather jacket has started peeing anywhere, it might be helpful to read through this and try some of the ways to fix the issue.
Faux leather is made from a base fabric and polyurethane coating, so it is going to peel and flake over time. It is hard to repair, but I chose to be adventurous and give it a try because I really love this jacket. Experts usually agree that it’s best to throw it away and buy a new one. However, I think that if it is something you enjoy wearing, it can’t hurt to try and fix it first.
Permanent Marker/Shoe Polish
The first step is to sand away some of the faux leather that is flaking with 180-grit sandpaper, making sure to remove all the flaked and peeling leather. Make sure to sand using tight circles and apply enough pressure to the fabric.
The next step is to find a marker that perfectly matches the coat’s color. Luckily, mine was black, so it wasn’t very hard. However, you can find permanent marker colors in many shades. Make sure to trace over the faded and discolored areas left behind by the peeled faux leather to improve appearance.
While it seems strange, you should also rub some shoe polish onto the jacket. You can dip a clean rag into the tin and smear it all over the sanded and colored jacket. You should work in a long and even stroke and apply the product evenly, ensuring the color is uniform. You can choose to use both the shoe polish and the marker or just one option.
Leather Paint is another way to fix a faux leather jacket. As with the first option, you should remove all the loose bits of leather so that you can clean the surface. Just use your fingers to remove the faux leather bits, but try not to pull off more than necessary.
Using an appropriate color of leather paint, dip a paintbrush into the can and paint evenly across the section you have just peeled. You should use horizontal, long strokes to make sure the area is covered completely.
Make sure you let the paint dry for 30 minutes. After the first coat and first drying, you can apply more to prevent it from looking recessed or to touch it up if needed. If you’re unsure if it is dry (many times, leather paint looks shiny and wet all the time), you can tap it with a finger to see if it feels sticky or not.
After appropriate coats of regular leather paint, you can finish off using a high-gloss finish leather paint. The painting process is the same for the matte paint. This finishing paint has no color and seals the painted area so that it doesn’t start peeling again. If you desire, you can use the finishing paint on the entire jacket to prevent any other bits from flaking off.
It’s important to note that you may need up to four layers of your high-gloss leather paint. Do not be scared if the color seems white or opaque; it does fade away as it dries.
This process is a little more involved, and I haven’t personally tried it. However, it has had good results on faux leather furniture. Therefore, use caution when trying this method.
Remove the peeling faux leather using a razor blade and your fingers. Just make sure you don’t remove more than what’s needed.
Next, apply the soft filler to the area you just cleaned using a putty knife. You should scoop about 1-inch worth of soft filler and use the putty knife to smear it across the peeled faux leather section. Smooth it out so that the thickness is even and try not to get the filler on any unpeeled sections.
Over time, the soft filler bonds with the faux leather and creates a vinyl-style surface. You can find it at many craft stores or at leather stores.
If you did add the soft filler to the seam of the furniture peeled space, you can use stiff paper, such as a business card or index card, to rub it away. You can also use the card’s edge to smooth the filler layer.
The filler layer must cure for 20 minutes, so make sure that you don’t touch it or move the jacket while it’s curing. If it’s a nice day, you may want to put the jacket outside and let it sit in indirect sunlight to speed up the process.
Once it is cured, you should apply another soft filler layer, still using the putty knife and ensuring that the filler doesn’t get onto the healthy parts of the faux leather jacket.
While not necessary, you can add texture by using plastic wrap. Loosely wrap your hand in plastic wrap and press the palm to the soft filler lightly. You should try to match the pattern of the jacket if possible, or you can skip this step if the jacket is smooth.
The last step is to use leather paint and a damp sponge. Dampen the sponge, and squeeze a two-inch diameter of leather paint onto the sponge. Smear the paint over the full section that you repaired and work in smooth, long strokes. It should be a thin layer and make sure that you overlap the paint onto the undamaged faux leather a little to blend everything in well.
You can easily purchase an inexpensive clear nail polish and apply that over the peeled area. You should still remove any bits of faux leather and apply the nail polish. If you don’t use a marker or any other product, you may find that it looks much different in the peeled area. However, that can also give it character, and this is an inexpensive fix.
Buy More Fabric
If you desire, you can buy some pleather or similar faux leather and attach it to the peeled area using a sewing machine or hand-sewing it. This method works well for people who enjoy sewing and have the appropriate tools.
Should I bother trying to fix a faux leather jacket?
I get asked this question a lot, and the answer isn’t one-sized. The ultimate decision is yours, but if it’s a favorite piece or it has sentimental value, I think it’s a good idea to try to fix the jacket. You aren’t likely to wear something that is noticeably damaged, which means you are more likely to throw it away or donate it. Some people might keep their jackets for sentimental value, but it just takes up space in your closet if you can’t wear it and enjoy it.
You may also want to consider the costs. For example, a new faux leather jacket is likely to set you back a couple hundred dollars while any and all of these products used to fix the current one can be purchased for much less. Spending less and having a familiar garment to wear and enjoy a few more years makes much more sense to me and I hope it does to you, as well.
Can it be as easy as clear nail polish? Why wasn’t that listed first?
Yes, it can be as easy as using clear nail polish. I didn’t list that option first because it doesn’t necessarily fix the problem. It keeps the faux leather from continuing to flake or peel, but it doesn’t color in the faded/peeled part, and it isn’t likely to look right unless the peeling is in an inconspicuous spot. For example, if the peeled area is on your pocket on one side, the other side isn’t going to match, and there won’t be symmetry. While you can choose to purposefully damage the other side, it makes more sense to try and color it in with a marker or use the soft filler option. That way, the finished result is much nicer, and you’re more likely to be happy with the results.
Will I cause more problems?
As with any DIY project, you may find that you damage the coat completely with a failed attempt at fixing it. However, when I chose to take on the project myself, I realized that if I couldn’t fix the jacket, I wouldn’t wear it ever again. The thought of never getting to wear my favorite jacket again got me motivated to try to fix it. If you don’t care one way or the other, you may not want to waste the time.
Should I use nail polish with other fixes?
That is an excellent question, which is why I’m including it in the question section. Yes, you can and should use nail polish along with other fixes. For example, you can color in the faded spot using a permanent marker and then seal the jacket and your work using nail polish. Alternatively, you can purchase a nail polish in the same color of your jacket and skip the marker aspect. However, this can be challenging if you have a jacket that is a strange color. Therefore, it might be easier to find a permanent marker in the same color as your jacket.
• Work in a brightly lit area so that it is easy to see what you are doing.
• Make sure you have all the tools necessary before starting. Some steps require quickness and accuracy, so you want to ensure you have everything ready to go.
• Work quickly but slowly enough to do a good job. Remember, if you mess up the fix, you might have damaged the jacket beyond repair.
• Be careful if using razors, putty knives, and other tools. You can cause damage to yourself and can also damage your property. For example, if the paint spills on the carpet, you aren’t likely to get it removed.
Permanent Marker/Shoe Polish
• Not very messy
• May not work for long without a sealant (nail polish works well)
• Might be hard to find the same color product as jacket
• Professional-looking results
• Lasts longer and seals itself with the finishing paint
• Takes a long time
• Paint can be hard to find
• Can get highly messy
• Professional finish
• Can be dangerous to use a razor blade
• Unknown if it works on jackets
• Requires precision/accuracy
• Requires a sealant
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